Common: Believing that passion strikes us serendipitously and miraculously changes our life for the better.
Uncommon: Take a quick gaze into the world of non-fiction literature and there is one word that cannot be ignored: passion.
Authors, speakers, leaders, and gurus use this word with a near religious application – as though it’s the alchemist’s secret to wielding the famed Midas touch. They preach that passion is an indispensable part of personal success and happiness.
Based on this introduction, you might be surprised to read this next statement: I agree with them. Passion is one very important element (of many) that produces extraordinary results.
What frustrates me (and many people who read these statements about passion) is that the process to attaining this ‘transformational’ passion is often overlooked or described as though the Gods endow it. Either way doesn’t help.
Common: Listening to advice and temporary barriers that bury inner passions.
Uncommon: If you’ve read my work before you’re probably aware of my past in publishing, writing, public speaking, and if you know me really well, my real estate endeavors. But there is another part of my past that you probably don’t know about.
I love drawing and design. A lot.
I’ve designed most everything having to do with Cool Stuff Media, Inc., The Uncommon Life, and Maxims for Mavericks. What most people don’t realize is that this love for art began at a young age conquering coloring books and sketch books with an unusual fervor.
I wasn’t a natural born prodigy, but I was committed – and passionate. As a young teenager and mediocre academic student, I clung to my interest in art for creative stimulation. The pages of my schoolbooks were barraged with sketches and fictional company logos. Despite my math teacher’s disenchantment with my artistic efforts, my passion and tenacity began to pay off. In high school, to my complete surprise, I experienced national success and recognition for my efforts in art and design classes.
Common: Taking the initial and/or frequent comments as the whole truth and consequently being led astray.
Uncommon: Live long enough and you’ll likely agree there is A LOT of misinformation and misaligned incentives in this place we call the ‘real world.’ Sometimes the intention is malicious, other times it’s ignorance, and sometimes it’s a matter of stretching the truth. If we’re honest, we can all admit to being guilty of pretending to have the answer or backing our sentiments with baseless confidence.
Why? No one likes to be wrong. This predisposition is hard wired within us, so let’s explore a solution that helps improve our own intellectual prowess while simultaneously identifying half-truths and making course corrections.
The inability to remove the husk from the kernels of feedback, advice, and information we receive each day prevents us from achieving real success in our personal lives, relationships, and professional lives. There are several ways to extract facts from a soupy sea of fiction, but one of the most effective, benevolent ways to do this is by playing dumb.
Common: When the stigma of the unknown creates overwhelm and inaction.
Uncommon: Surprise, I’m traveling again. I stopped tracking the specifics of my journey after visiting 10 states in 12 days. Don’t get me wrong, I love my vagabond lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world.
In fact, it’s been said that traveling offers an unparalleled life perspective. I agree. This benefit is not only cultural, but also founded upon the revealing of certain personal and general life truths.
I’ve been on the move since age 10, so I’ve grown to enjoy constant change. But still, I am human. And deep down I feel we all desire some certainty, predictability, and familiarity. This is a healthy tendency… except for when it isn’t.
Common: Doing things quickly and sloppily because the outcome is unknown.
Uncommon: I live in Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles – and with this coastal environment comes a unique beach culture and social protocol. But within every human sub-community lurk aspects of a larger behavioral code. One such example is what, as of this post, I call the ‘Sandcastle Effect.’
[Bear with me, this will be fun.]
Every day I run several miles down the beach in the sand, while sporting my peculiar looking Vibram Fivefinger shoes. What’s more peculiar, perhaps, are the remnants (or lack thereof) of the beachgoers’ sandy structures. Some sandcastles boast an impressive existence spanning several days. Others do not.
Why the difference?
Common: Being weighed down on the launch pad due to too much baggage.
Uncommon: While waiting in the check-in line, I spotted an airport cliché that never fails: The luggage miser.
There she stood: One purse, a bulging computer bag, a roller carry-on bag, two over-sized suitcases, a sweater bearing lap dog clenched in her arms… and a facial expression that flashed ‘max mental capacity.’
Each little shift in the line caused her enormous hassle. She wanted to move, but she couldn’t. It required a gargantuan effort with multiple attempts.
Instead of being excited about each opportunity to move closer to her goal (the check-in desk), she felt increasingly overwhelmed.
And such is the way many people live their lives. They have a goal or destination in mind, lug a surplus of baggage along with them, and wonder why they don’t get far from the launch pad, if anywhere at all.